Graduate Education Policy Intern (Spring 2018) - J-PAL Global

Graduate Education Policy Intern (Spring 2018) - J-PAL Global

Country: United States
Education: Master's
Language Requirement: English
Length of Commitment: Less than one year
Start Date: ASAP

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is a research center at the Economics Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, MA. J-PAL’s mission is to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence, and research is translated into action.

J-PAL is recruiting a Graduate Education Policy Intern to conduct a detailed scoping review of 10+ countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to determine the feasibility of implementing an evidence-based pedagogical intervention. The internship is based at J-PAL Global at MIT, but the scoping review will also support the work of the J-PAL Africa team. This is a paid, part-time position (10-20 hours per week) during the 2018 spring semester. As most applicants will be full-time students, we can be flexible in setting exact work hours (e.g. two full days per week or five half days per week), with the possibility of partially working remotely.


Despite significant gains in primary school enrollment and attendance in the Sub-Saharan Africa, less than 20 percent of students in the region pass minimum proficiency tests in math and literacy. One evidence-based program addressing this gap in learning levels is the Indian NGO Pratham’s Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) approach, which J-PAL affiliated professors have evaluated extensively over the past 15 years. TaRL is a pedagogical approach that involves evaluating children using a simple assessment tool and then teaching them according to learning level rather than age or grade.

Pratham, J-PAL Africa, and a number of other organizations partnered with the Ministry of Education in Zambia to adapt the approach from its original context in India for implementation in the Zambian context. After a successful pilot, the Zambian government is scaling TaRL to 1,800 schools in the next three years. J-PAL is now interested in exploring other countries in Africa with low learning levels that could benefit from the TaRL approach.


The Graduate Education Policy Intern will support J-PAL Global in conducting a comprehensive scoping review of 10+ countries in Africa to determine the interest for and feasibility of the TaRL approach. This will entail:
  • Gathering data on learning levels in 10+ countries in Africa, including: Cote D'Ivoire, Nigeria, Malawi, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Botswana, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Angola, Ghana. This list is subject to change.
  • Collecting information on the primary and secondary school landscapes in each of the countries.
  • Assessing the quality of the administrative data collection systems of the Ministries of Education (MoE) of each country.
  • Evaluating the broader strategic goals of the MoE in each of the prospective countries.
  • Documenting additional information about each of the prospective countries as relevant.


Your strong communication and organizational skills, as well as your background in international education, economics, and/or public policy and your interest in education policy and poverty alleviation, make you an ideal candidate for the Graduate Education Policy Internship.
  • Education: You are a graduate student with high grades in education and economics coursework.
  • Experience and Interest: You have demonstrated strong interest in international development or international education through coursework, study abroad, and previous work experience.
  • Communication: Your strong communication skills help you write clear and concise documents.
  • Organization: Your robust organizational capacity and attention to detail enable you to tackle large projects and meet deadlines.
  • Attitude: You are willing to work hard, are excited to learn, and are enthusiastic about supporting J-PAL expand its education-related work.

Preferred Qualifications:
  • Education: You have high grades in quantitative coursework including econometrics and statistics.
  • Experience and Interest: You have lived or worked in Sub-Saharan Africa and have conducted needs assessment research or scoping reviews.
  • Skills: You have working proficiency in French.

How to Apply

Ready to join a team of supportive, engaging, and fun colleagues? Apply now.

To apply, please attach the following documents in a single PDF with the filename “Firstname_Lastname_ Graduate Education Policy” and email them to with the subject line: Graduate Education Policy Intern_Lastname:
  • One-page cover letter addressed to Radhika Bhula describing your qualifications for the Graduate Education Policy Intern position and availability
  • CV/Resume
  • University transcripts (can be unofficial)

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis starting January 31, 2018. Applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

Special Note: This position is not eligible for any type of Visa sponsorship through MIT.

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